35 years on the road for unique Mayo Famine Walk

The 35th annual Famine Walk will take place via the Doolough Valley in County Mayo on Saturday, May 20th. Walkers will gather in Louisburgh from 11am for the opening ceremony before being ferried by bus to the starting point at Delphi Lodge.

Renowned singer turned Independent Senator Frances Black, will be among this year’s walk leaders. A strong advocate for social justice, Senator Black is the first female Independent from the Seanad’s panel system in the history of the state. Frances is the founder of the RISE Foundation and also the Chairperson and a founder member of the recently launched Irish Anti-Apartheid Campaign for Palestine. Other walk leaders will include educationalist and activist Michael Doorly of Concern and Joseph Kabwe Kamfwa, an agriculturist from Lusaka in Zambia. Music will be provided by the folk and traditional music legend Karan Casey, whose recently released album is entitled ‘Nine Apples of Gold’.

This unique event has been on the road for thirty-five years and has been led over the years by such distinguished people as Desmond Tutu, representatives of the Choctaw nation of Oklahoma, representatives of the Maya people from Guatemala, John Pilger, actor Gabriel Byrne, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Ronnie Drew, Lisa Lambe, Damian Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke to name but a few.

The walk is about remembering those who suffered, died or were forced to emigrate during An Gorta Mór and those who suffer the same injustices today. This year’s walk is an expression of solidarity with all who suffer as a result of war and a call for every effort to be made to bring an end to war and pursue a path of peace.

It will echo the voice of the UN’s nuclear watchdog in relation to the war in Ukraine, a country that hosts four nuclear power plants, saying: ‘each day we are rolling a dice and if we allow this to continue…then one day our luck will run out’. To underscore this warning, the Doomsday Clock, created by scientists to symbolise the urgent danger to human civilization, and our proximity to midnight, in other words, our destruction, is now at 90 seconds, the closest it’s ever been’.

You are all welcome to join us for the walk of solidarity and peace. Even if you cannot complete the full 18 km, a shuttle car will be available to bring you back to Louisburgh.

Some useful information about the event:

You are welcome to visit the following places before the registration starts at 11am in the local town hall:

  • Books at One/Art at One on Lower Bridge Street open and welcomes all (10am to 5pm)
  • Granuaile Centre and Famine Room, Church Street (open from 10am until 2pm)

Registration and opening ceremony

  • Registration begins at 11.00am in the local town hall (€25 registration fee per adult participant – this includes payment for the shuttle bus). Even if you have pre-registered you will need to go to the registration desk to collect a ticket to board the bus.
  • This will be followed by a short opening ceremony. WE ASK ALL WALKERS TO PLEASE BE PATIENT DURING REGISTRATION AND THE OPENING CEREMONY. The opening ceremony is a very important part of the Famine Walk experience with inspirational speakers and wonderful music.

The Walk

  • A tree will be planted at Delphi Lodge before walkers take to the road (5 mins).
  • The walk is 11 miles (approx.), walkers should walk on the left-hand side. A shuttle car will be available during the walk for anyone who gets into difficulty.
  • No parking is available at Delphi Lodge.
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead.
  • Tea/coffee and Portaloos will be available along the route.

After the Walk

Certificates will be given out at the end of the walk in the Parish Hall

There are a number of places where food will be available:

  • Seven Wanders coffee shop (open for breakfast and lunch until 4pm)
  • Tia Café, the Square (vegetarian friendly café and deli open until 3pm)
  • McNamara’s Café, the Square (coffee shop open until 4pm)
  • Tia by the River, Long Street (open in the evening)
  • Some hot food will be available in the Deli in Gala Supermarket, Bridge Street (open until 8pm)
  • Louisburgh 74 restaurant on Chapel Street (open until 4pm)
  • Good Grazing on Chapel Street (award-winning take away, open 5pm-9pm)
  • Gaffney’s Seafood Restaurant, Chapel St. (with an outdoor sitting area, open from 5pm)
  • There is a lovely place to relax down by the river at Scott’s Island.
  • Walkers will gather in McNamara’s Pub from 8.30pm.
  • Famine Walk CD is available at €10.

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